Though it was only a friendly, and even if we take into account that Argentina had a number of players missing against Venezuela, it’s still not acceptable to be losing 3-1 to them, with the greatest of respect. La Albiceleste have long been international football’s under-performers, but that can in no way be attributed to their captain and talisman, Lionel Messi.
After a hiatus from the national side, there were genuine concerns that the Barcelona man may decide to hang up his boots for Argentina. But it’s blindingly obvious that he feels a responsibility to the public.
After Friday night’s debacle in Madrid, however, he may be wondering why he bothered to pull on the famous sky blue and white shirt again, particularly as he’s now injured and won’t take part in the second game of this round of fixtures against Morocco.
Messi Is The Shining Light
Messi was the one shining light – of course – in a side that looked like they weren’t bothered. It was only through his tenacity and hard work that a solitary goal was crafted.
Without him in situ, frankly, the damage could’ve been worse.
Even if Leo believes that there’s a debt to pay, or perhaps still a point to prove, his longevity in the game at club level is surely at risk if he continues to play in such meaningless matches.
Clearly, he can’t just pick and choose in terms of international fixtures. But at this point in time, retiring for good has to be an option that is given due consideration.
Copa America Burden
The Copa America is on the horizon this summer, and if Messi plays, which in all likelihood he will, then the burden to deliver the trophy will fall squarely on his shoulders once again.
He’ll know already that his team-mates aren’t up to the mark in terms of the quality required to bring silverware and success. So isn’t he just as well to leave with his head held high?
Despite what some commentators in the game would have you believe, Messi has nothing left to prove to anyone, least of all himself. But there is evidently still a desire to be the first since Maradona to bring unbridled joy to thousands of success-starved Argentinians.
Messi Cannot Equal Maradona
He’ll never be revered like his contemporary was, and still is, but that’s not the issue here.
The need to win something appears what keeps drawing him in. Bringing him back for one last hurrah. Like the boxer who needs one more round.
We all know how those stories end, and his is a legend that deserves not to be tarnished.
Rather than risk more tournament disappointment and the inevitable wrath that will follow, he should go now.